Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Long time no see

I just can’t believe how fast the time has been going.  We’re due to leave here in a couple of weeks and then we’ll be on our travels again so I’ll have more travel news to report then and hopefully a lot more time to do some blogging.

So it’s nearly two months since my last post, here are some of the highlights well things that particularly stick in my mind.

Nick and Joy finally arrived in January and our feet haven’t touched the ground since, almost literally, I haven’t been out dancing so much in years – I don’t know where Nick gets his energy from.

In February, there was a Dutch 50th wedding anniversary party and Clara, our flamenco teacher did a performance and the flamenco group had a photo
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Joy, Ronnie, Betty, Frieda, Fabienne and yours truly. Missing were Hortense and Cora


This brought me onto doing a website for Clara to help promote her business.  So one afternoon Joy, her friend Ellie who was visiting and myself went onto the beach to take some photos and videos.  Here’s a couple – they were pretty good I thought for amateurs.

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Then another day, Clara and myself went up into the mountains and took some more pictures and videos. This then got me into photo manipulation and I rather liked the result of this one. Clara is dancing with her shadow which is in black and white and she is wearing vibrant red.

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If you liked those then have a look at her website www.claratierra.sbw1.co.uk

I have really enjoyed doing the website although it has taken up quite a bit of time.  But anyone who knows me, knows that I’ve always got to be learning something new and I’ve learned a lot about photo manipulation and videos and YouTube – so for me it was all worth it.

After some inspiration from Joy, I’ve also been working on a couple of websites for myself that I’ve been meaning to do for ages, but they took a bit of a backseat because of Clara’s so they haven’t been finished and will be revealed soon. Oh and look, I’ve got into Pinterest and you can now pin any picture on my blog.

Clara, bless her, than offered in return to give me some private Flamenco lessons and I’ve been learning the four parts of the Sevillana, which is a dance that all Spanish people seem to know but it really is very difficult and takes ages.  I think I’m just about there now and I can get up and dance with the Flamenco dancers at El Cisne and Kaktus and actually look like I know a bit of what I’m doing instead of just jigging around – more of that to follow.

In March, there was another party to celebrate the Dutch leaving – sorry that was for the Dutch to celebrate the end of the winter season, when they all go home to check on their tulips.  Apologies to our Dutch friends Meerke and Nol, Henk and Jenny, we don't see you in the same way as some of the others.

So in one of those inebriated moments, we thought it would be a good idea to put on a “Flash mob” during the party.  Only planning it a week before, we actually only had 2 hours to put together and practice the dance (I did mention the Sevillana takes ages to learn).  Clara was brilliant and this is the result which also gave me another opportunity to play around with videos. It’s only a couple of snippets but hopefully it will give you the idea. Even Iain, Nick, Jo and James were involved as they were the “Clappy Happers” backing group.  Hope you enjoy it, it was just a bit of fun and it proves that old birds still like to get up and dance, the oldest in our flamenco group was 82.


We’ve met some new friends

a1Paul and Ruth from Wiltshire stayed for a couple of weeks.  Paul has just finished his self-build and it’s all orange inside – yes, even the orange squeezer. Apart from the fact that they were real party animals, my most vivid memory was of a fairly cold evening (still able to sit out until gone 9pm) when Paul was sitting outside wearing an orange and black “Tigger” style onesie.  I couldn’t believe that he would actually wear that in public there could have been a bit of the confidence-juice that had been consumed responsible for that.
                                              Ruth and Paul

Mick and Shirley returned again, we had met them last year and that meant another few nights out. They’ve now moved off to Calpe for a couple of weeks before returning home.

Dave and Pam from Grimsby became new friends and they are planning to come back next year.

We’ve had some birthdays to celebrate

nick card

Jo and mine fell at the same weekend in early March so we did a whole weekend’s celebrations.  Meals out, dancing at Kactus (posh hotel on the seafront) – you get the picture.
Nick’s fell on 1st April and I made him a card.  Inspiration is always the problem, but just recently, as I said we’ve been out dancing and partying a lot and Iain and James are a bit light-weight when it comes to staying up late, so Nick always seems to be left with the women.  He was left to entertain 5 women one night, so we have “Nick-named” (rather apt I thought) him “Sultan Nick of Albir”.  Of course he loves all the attention.  Here’s the card I made for him.  We then did a surprise lunch at Wyndhams for him and managed to pull it off without him finding out.  But I don’t think he appreciated this picture too much though.
a-nick

We’ve also had some falls

James was the first – fell over and dislocated his finger – mmmm well they do call it falling down water. So that meant a few visits to the hospital and a couple of weeks in a sling.
Then Pam, tripped in the street and ended up 4 nights in hospital.  Badly bruised but gladly nothing broken.
The following night,  Liz who lives in Albir  – fell on her way home from the quiz on Wednesday night and we haven’t seen her since but we have been getting regular updates. Hope you are doing ok Liz and also hope we will see you before we go.
Jo finished it off (we hope) by tripping on a piece of metal  on the campsite.  With her already dodgy ankle that meant a trip to the hospital but thankfully nothing broken. But that does of course mean that the Madge is back in action.  It was the day of “all day” rugby so nearly everyone was out at the time.  I’m sorry to say this Jo, but it must have been a sight to be seen with only Jo and Pam down our end of the campsite at the time and Pam, who had only come out of hospital  that day had to walk using her walking frame over to Jo and help her up.  Glad that it’s improving now Jo, hopefully you’ll be up and running again soon.

We’ve found some new places to go

Kaktus

– the posh hotel on the seafront. Last year, Nick always took Joy out on Saturday nights to the Kactus – they do a really good act each Friday and Saturday and there’s dancing of course.  Last year we just didn’t get ourselves organised enough to go, especially as the act doesn’t come on until 10.30pm which was always far too late for us.  But this year we have been making the effort sometimes.  The acts are really good and we do have a great time.

Goa

– not the holiday resort in India, but a Spanish bar just down the road and on the seafront.  I can’t believe we didn’t discover it before.  On Friday nights (late) and Sunday evenings they have Spanish entertainment.  This normally consists of a Flamenco band (no dancer though) which we think is one family. They are fantastic and whilst Iain really doesn’t like the wailing singing that they do, the guitarist is brilliant.  Having done some flamenco lessons we have learned not only the dance but also an appreciation of the culture and the rythms.  I’m really getting into flamenco and I’m sure it is mainly because I understand it so much more and can appreciate it – even the singing sometimes.

Of course all this makes it sound like we are forever in the pub and getting pi**ed.  Well it would be so easy to do that.  There are loads of ex-pat communities over in Spain, retired, not working, loads of time on their hands, living very cheaply off pensions and with a pint at anything from 1.50 euros and large brandies at 3 Euros a shot it is very easy to fall into that way of life.  I for one, don’t want to.

Yes I’ll party, yes I’ll have a drink (and too many sometimes) but I also want to keep myself busy doing other things.  I’ve been doing a bit of crafting stuff but not enough and the days still seem to fly by.  It’s amazing the things that you did automatically seem to be a job these days – even just having a shower, or doing water in/water out is something  to tick off the list of “jobs to do” each day.  It’s also very easy to get lazy.  Each day seems to start with – “Our neighbours are up, let’s pop around for a chat and see what they are doing today”.

Jo and James, Nick and Joy and ourselves are all next to each other and it is getting like one big commune.  Even the dogs just seem to wander from one van to another as if it is just one big pack with separate kennels. Paddy often pops in for a bit of Connie's left-overs.  It’s rather nice really and we do like the campsite life, but we need to leave here for a rest.   You wouldn’t get this lifestyle in an apartment.  However it is lovely when on the odd occasion we just stay in for the night and watch TV together, just the two of us.  However with the warmer weather and now the longer evenings – already the sun doesn’t set until after 8.30pm those nights are getting fewer and farther between.

But we have taken in a little bit of culture

A couple of days ago, Joy and myself actually ventured into Altea Old Town.  It is lovely, pretty white buildings, narrow streets, a church on top of the hill.  As with a lot of Spanish old towns they are on top of hills and it’s a bit of a climb to get up there but worth it. This is much more real Spain than Albir which has really only come into being since the 1960's. For anyone thinking of visiting – we do actually walk there from Albir, it’s about 2 miles along the promenade,  then the climb up.
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a-altea
You can just see the massive hotels
at Benidorm in the distance
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These young people –
just couldn’t make it to the top without
a rest



Last week saw the return of the Classical Flamenco Group which we saw in November (I think).  Iain and Nick declined to join us and said it would just be wasted money on them.   flamenco pasionAs usual (this is Spain), there was very little information about it beforehand, loads of posters everywhere but nothing explaining what it would actually be – so we didn’t really know what we were going to see.  I googled everything I could and we were still none the wiser.  We thought from the poster that it might be a male dancer, if any dancer at all, but we did manage to find out that the guitarist would be the same as the previous performance. I wasn’t sure about seeing a single male dancer because I love to see the ladies dancing in their flamenco dresses, however as Joy hadn’t seen the last performance and the poster did show a man half naked,  we thought we would give it a go.

It was fantastic.  Norman (the dancer) was about 6ft 4 and was like an albatross.  How he moved his long arms and legs at such speed, I just don’t know.  His name is Norman Contreras and here’s a brief snippet of his dancing.

video

 He must be quite new on the scene as I could only find one YouTube video of him.



The guitarist was Antonio Munoz Fernandez and he must be quite famous as there’s quite a bit on YouTube of him, if you would like to have a look and listen.

So if you ever come across these people, they are well worth seeing.

DUCK UPDATE

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The duck has become very tame, it will let you stroke it, James can even pick it up with no fuss and it dominates the two dogs, Connie and Paddy who avoid it at all cost.

However the stupid duck thinks it is a dog and kept visiting Max – now would you torment this dog? Max didn’t know what to make of it and was very curious to say the least.  We had to keep rescuing the duck from a good sniffing and chewing. One day I saw Max had pinned it to the ground.  Another time Max was standing on it’s wing and chewing it’s feathers and the duck didn’t even try to get away. Then Max must have realised that this might be food and one time the duck was rescued after Max picked it up by it's neck.  Things were getting a bit dodgy.  Understandably, although Dave was fed up with the duck tormenting Max, more seriously, Max is a big softie and he didn’t want him to actually taste blood.

One day however the inevitable happened, Dave was throwing the ball for Max and the stupid duck got too close.  Max chased the duck which didn’t take off quick enough and he caught it on our pitch.  Everyone was reluctant to get too close to Max as you don't know what a dog on the hunt might do if you try to take it's prize away. In a matter of seconds, Dave came to the rescue and managed to get Max to drop the duck. Was it curtains for the duck? Well not quite, but it was pretty roughed up, looked very sorry for itself and it lost a few tail feathers so it won’t be flying off anywhere for a while.  It seems to have recovered now but it doesn’t mess with Max any more.

So for now were still stuck with the duck and it's muck.

A couple of days later an egg appeared under James' van.  James was soooo excited - thought he was going to be a grandad. More research on Muscovy ducks revealed that they can lay up to 30 eggs in one batch so preparations were being made for the new arrivals.  Was it the shock of the encounter with Max that had spurred on the duck to start laying? Or was it just a chicken egg!!!!!  Sadly no further eggs have been produced so one solitary egg lies underneath James' van and the duck is totally ignoring it - perhaps she isn't ready to be a mother yet? I think James is now in mourning over what might have been. No one is owning up to the joke but I just wish it had been my idea.

That’s about it, I’m sure there is loads that I have forgotten and apologies to anyone who didn’t get a mention.  We’re on the move again later next week, so there should be more of our travels rather than just our living.  But to anyone thinking of spending winter in warmer climes – Spain is great. Winter lasted about 6 weeks, cool in the day and quite cold at night but I only saw ice on the ground once, early one morning where a small puddle had frozen and I still only wore a coat once and that was because it was raining.

So did we get bored staying in one place for 6 months - what do you think?

See you soon when we are on the road again.

2 comments:

  1. Awesome blog. Looks like your all having a ball. And yes where does nick get his energy lol xxx

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Emma, you wait until the next post - pseudo bull fighting with a blanket and a mobility scooter!!!!! Yes of course Nick was involved - but which one was he, the bull or the matador?

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